It’s back and we’re back at it! SXSW (South By Southwest) – the festival based in Texas, USA, that’s been running and growing since 1987 – will this year see another Selector Radio line-up of incredible and fast-rising UK talent: queer-led dance-pop outfit Porij, musician and DJ Nabihah Iqbal, experimental duo O., noise-punk mob Enola Gay, rapper and grime artist Chiedu Oraka, and singer songwriter Eleni Drake.
Selector Radio’s our weekly radio show, here at the British Council, that airs around the world and has done every week since 2001. This year, the show’s phenomenal host and one of the UK’s biggest music tastemakers, Sian Eleri, will be there at the The Velveeta Room in Texas on Friday 15 March 2024 to host the Selector event featuring the artists she’s supporting. Audio Always, who produce Selector shows each week, will be there too – recording and getting ready to share the gigs will anyone who wasn’t there in person, including the many millions of the show’s regular weekly listeners. Just head to selector-radio.com to keep up with highlights available on YouTube and Mixcloud.
‘For years, I've lovingly admired acts and fellow radio presenters from afar who head to SXSW each year’ says Sian Eleri. ‘Now, it's such a dream to get to experience the festival up close and personal in all its glory with Selector and the British Council for 2024. I'll always rally behind events that put the world’s best future music talent in a room together, I can’t wait to get amongst it. On top of all that, I get to share the best of the best with Selector listeners across the globe!’
Our Director, Music, here at the British Council, Joel Mills says: ‘I’m thrilled that Selector will return to SXSW for a second year. With presenter Sian Eleri at the helm hosting a curated line up, Selector will showcase an enticing array of outstanding UK independent music talent … to show the vitality and diversity of UK music and take it out into the world.’
This SXSW 2024 showcase will be produced by our partners, British Underground, whose mission is to showcase outstanding UK music to international audiences. Their Director, Crispin Parry, says: ‘SXSW is a fantastic celebration of new music and it has been a vital fixture in the British Underground calendar for many years. If you are a music fan it nourishes, challenges and inspires you, and with that in mind we are delighted to be collaborating with Selector Radio, British Council and Audio Always to present an amazing line-up of UK talent at The Velveeta Room with new host Sian Eleri.’
Selector at SXSW 2024
Friday 15 March 2024, 20.00 (CT) – The Velveeta Room
- 20.00 – Eleni Drake
- 21.00 – Enola Gay
- 22.00 – Chiedu Oraka
- 23.00 – O.
- 00.00 – Nabihah Iqbal
- 01.00 – Porij
Meet the Selector at SXSW 2024 artists
'An endearing blend of house, garage, new wave and lo-fi pop' – The Guardian
'Genre-splicing art-pop ready made for the dancefloor' – NME
'Impossible to genuinely pin down' – Clash
Porij have endured the sharp pains of self-discovery. Since the beginning, Porij have self-produced, self-mixed and entirely self-made their music and, even after having signed to [PIAS], their debut album Teething was still incubated in their bedrooms and later bassist James Middleton’s flat where they would sit together for hours giving colour, shape and texture to this new world. It was only then that they enlisted legendary producer David Wrench, famed for his work with era-defining artists including Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs and The XX. His mentorship allowed Teething to transform their music from a live-angled proposition to something folded in the arms of pop.
Vocalist and keyboardist Scout Moore (Eggy), bassist James Middleton, guitarist Jacob Maguire and drummer Nathan Carroll are armed with hard-won experience, strengthened bonds and a renewed sense of passion. Teething is both a coming-of-age story and a bottling of the particular magic that is unmistakably – and definitively – Porij.
'Between dream pop and the dancefloor' – The Guardian
'Nabihah Iqbal's shoegazey new album is both deeper and dancier than we're used to' – Resident Advisor
Nabihah Iqbal is a musician, producer, DJ and broadcaster from London. Her latest album DREAMER see’s Nabihah reflect on her experiences during the early months of 2020, when her studio was burgled. All her work was lost, including her long-awaited album. Already suffering from a broken hand and a severe case of burnout, she felt helpless. While the forensic police looked for fingerprints in her studio, she received a call. It was her grandmother; her grandfather had suffered a brain haemorrhage. Nabihah got on a plane to Karachi, Pakistan the next day. ‘Going to Pakistan turned into a blessing in disguise,’ she says. ‘It affected my perspective on music. At the time, being forcefully removed from the whole scenario of the burglary felt frustrating, but it was the best thing that could have happened.’ Nabihah spent those months remembering why she made music in the first place. She went back to basics and bought an acoustic guitar and a harmonium.
It is a wrenchingly intimate and sweetly playful project. There is a pronounced melancholy underpinning the album, but cracks of sunlight make their way out. Ultimately, DREAMER signals a shift, elevating Nabihah’s work to new heights as she adds new colours to her palette.
'The Yorkshire rapper proves his rank amongst the echelons of the UK rap scene' – ABSO
A leading figure in the northern rap and grime scene, Chiedu Oraka, aka ‘The Black Yorkshireman’ defies genres with his blend of raw honesty and social poetry. Raised on North Hull Estate, Oraka’s lyrical abilities create an in-depth memoir of the Northern Black experience. A strong 2023 saw Oraka sign with Marshall’s live booking agency, perform at The Great Escape 2023, headline his first Leeds show and Humber Street Sesh and play his first UK headline tour in October 2023. Oraka entered 2024 armed with his lengthiest project to date, Misfit, a 12-track mixtape signed to EMI North via Launchpad that goes deeper on both fronts – the anthems and the message – than ever before. Single, ‘Rhythm of My Pain’ taken from Misfit has seen strong support from The Independent, Clash, Line of Best Fit to BBC Introducing, 6 Music and 1Xtra to name a few.
Chiedu Oraka remains one of the scene’s most dynamic live performers, having supported UK artists such as Stormzy, Jaykae, Akala, Novelist, Mostack and Poundz, as well as US hip hop legend KRS One and continues to set the bar high for northern talent, confirming his position as a premiere UK lyrical artist.
Please note, the video below contains language that some viewers may find offensive.
‘The music alone will see 2023 morph into the year of O’ – Loud & Quiet
‘Though played on acoustic instruments, O.’s music has the heft of the most potent club records. Watch them fly’ – DJ
As the circular simplicity of their name suggests, O. are a true self-contained unit. They formed in London during lockdown, when Joe and Tash – both veterans of a string of London ensembles – found themselves in a bubble together. When they started jamming, it was with no preconceptions: don’t overthink it, just play and see what happens. Before long, though, they were augmenting live instruments with effects – Joe routing his saxophone through a pedal board, Tash treating her drums with reverb and delay. As their sound grew and grew, it gradually became clear there wouldn’t be space for anyone else.
‘I love this band so much! They’re about pushing your boundaries, tastes and what you really love’ – Jack Saunders, BBC Radio 1
‘They are one of my favourite bands in the whole world' – Jehnny Beth
Belfast-based Irish noise punk mob Enola Gay formed in late 2019. Venomous hip-hop-inspired vocals that are as uncompromising as the guitars are unforgiving, are layered on a rhythm section that draws as much from left-field electronica and techno as it does from post-punk heroes of the late 70s. Enola wasted no time in establishing themselves as one of the next unique punk voices, having been listed in both NME and Rolling Stone's lists of acts to define 2022 which they lived up to by headlining festivals. Enola’s March 2024 US tour follows the continuation of their course for world domination after their debut US appearances at Chicago’s Metro supporting Viagra Boys and Riot Fest where Jehnny Beth appeared for guest vocals while also sharing the stage with Death Grips, Queens of the Stone Age and The Cure.
After releasing their acclaimed debut EP Gransha, they certified themselves as one of the hardest working bands by selling out their debuting 32-date UK Tour and NME called them ‘one of the most-booked new acts for European festivals’. Absorbing crowds across Europe and dominating the UK before the release of a debut album, it is no wonder they have been hotly tipped by Iggy Pop, Jehnny Beth, and all who catch their now infamous high-energy sets of ferocious energy.
Please note, the video below contains language that some viewers may find offensive.
‘The British singer-songwriter has successfully captured the beachy, cosmic energy the record’s name seems to indicate’ – Consequence
‘A compulsive set of songs laced in spacey twang … there’s a touch of David Lynch about its zonk-blues melancholia’ – The Arts Desk
Hailing from West London, Eleni Drake is a singer, songwriter and producer whose songs are decorated with a wonderful mixture of indie rock, blues and jazz. Creating unique, vintage and gorgeous sounding ballads her brooding and moody songs are self-produced and a clear view into her heart.
Eleni's second album Surf The Sun was released 19 May 2023 on her own Vanilla Sky Recordings imprint digitally and on limited sun effect vinyl LP.
The record received media coverage and support from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit, CLASH Magazine, Consequence, The Independent, The Arts Desk, Noctis Mag, Ones To Watch, La Blogotheque, AlexRainBird, Vanyaland, DiscoNaivete, Somewhere Soul, Wonderland Magazine and Record Of The Day.
Selector at SXSW 2023
Some of the best emerging UK music talent performed at SXSW (South By Southwest festival) in Austin, Texas as Selector Radio presented a genre-defying night of music together with Selector's then host, Jamz Supernova.
Selector Radio's mission has been to bring the best new UK music for the world, every single week for over two decades. So we will bring you the live music from SXSW whether you're lucky enough to be in Texas will us in person or not. Featuring art-pop, alt R&B and more, the performances feature an eclectic mix from fast-rising artists including: avant garde art-pop artist Jessica Winter, electronica-jazz collective Ishmael Ensemble, jazz-punk collective Robocobra Quartet, alt-R&B singer-songwriter TYSON and British Latinx singer Desta French.
‘Such a joy and a privilege to not only go to SXSW for the first time but to be trusted to curate a stage!’ says Jamz. ‘I’m so proud of our eclectic line up, it really showcases how exciting our musical UK offering is!'
Thursday 16 March 2023
Seller’s Underground, 213 West 4th Street, Austin, TX 78701
- 20.00 – Desta French
- 21.00 – TYSON
- 20.00 – Ishmael Ensemble
- 23.00 – Robocobra Quartet
- 00.00 – Jessica Winter
- 01.00 – Jamz Supernova (DJ set)
The live performances will take place Thursday 16 March 2023 at Seller’s Underground in Austin, USA. Global audiences will get a chance to experience the night by tuning in to Selector Radio for recordings from the live performances in the coming weeks. ‘Selector is about the independence and diversity of UK music and taking it out into the world’, says Joel Mills, Director Music here at the British Council. ‘Bringing all these bands together for one night for SXSW will produce a sensational evening of sound.’
Meet the artists
Above: Selector Radio is bringing five acts to SXSW in 2023. Clockwise from top left: Selector's host, Jamz Supernova; Ishmael Ensemble; TYSON; Robocobra Quartet; Desta French; Jessica Winter.
Jessica Winter is an artist who doesn't belong to one genre, scene or sound. She takes inspiration from everyday life experiences and sounds from the 80s, trap indie and pure pop.
Ishmael Ensemble’s music straddles the worlds of electronica and jazz, and comprises a shifting cast of collaborators helmed by producer and saxophonist Pete Cunningham. They rose to acclaim with debut album A State of Flow (2019) – named The Guardian’s Contemporary Album of the Month and MOJO's Jazz Album of the Month.
From Belfast, Robocobra Quartet combine jazz improvisation, the humour of stand-up and the intensity of punk. Experimentation is at the core of their sound and their live performances include on-the-spot improvisations.
TYSON has an effortlessly cool alt-R&B sound that has earned her Breakthrough Act of the Year 2022 at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards. Her vocal stylings range from stylishly soulful to experimentally boundless. TYSON also founded her own record label, Ladies Music Pub.
Desta French is spearheading a new Latinx London sound. Her influences span from R&B, Salsa, Cumbia, Latin Jazz and Hip Hop - giving her an unmistakable sound.
Find out more